My Dying Bride: The Manuscript

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My Dying Bride: The Manuscript
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My Dying Bride: The Manuscript
Doom Metal, Gothic Metal
Peaceville Records
May 14th, 2013
Release length: 27:21
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Hot off the heels of last years A Map of All Our Failures, the UK’s Doom Metal egends My Dying Bride present yet another brand new recording. The Manuscript has been promised to leave the soul “grey and limp” across four tales of “tragedy, loss and bitter vengeance.” This ends up being a hefty promise to make, but if any band can live up to it, it’s My Dying Bride. But, do they actually accomplish this feat?

The first thing you will immediately notice is that the audio actually sounds a bit empty. On top of that the cymbals seem to have a very slight wash out to them, even though that doesn’t seem to be the case. This ends up a very bass heavy release as well, though the title track, “The Manuscript,” doesn’t quite benefit from it. This slower composition is met with cleaner chords that come off a bit weak, as well as in a dismal, aquatic manner. This works surprisingly well with the haunting violin presence that follows, signifying the subtle increase in richness and speed, as well as more enthusiastic singing to round things out on a stronger note.

“Var Gud Over Er” is a simple throwback to the early Death Metal influenced days of My Dying Bride. Strong gutturals are met with a crushing performance void of that empty audio presence. The song itself isn’t that engaging, but the lead riffs and faster chugging is still enough to get you to bob your head along to the rhythm, while feeding on the energetic vocals. There’s a hint of melancholy here, but when things slow down, you can pick up on the grim despair the band is known for through the slower, catchy riffs. Sadly, barely any of this could be said for the conclusionary track “Only Tears to Replace Her With.” This track start with simple narration, which is fine and shows hints of this being a conceptual EP, and this is the conclusion to wrap up loose ends or give closure. The soft spoken word approach suits the release well, though the music simply doesn’t work out. There’s no real emotional toll to support any of the lyrics, even when sung, and the guitars are at a level and distortion that they just rattle around in your skull to enduce a migraine when held for any period of time.

While this EP seems to shift between solid atmospheres and music to blank palette and decent material, it’s “A Pale Shroud of Longing” that really sticks out. Right away this seven minute plus offering greets you with depressing and crushing riffs, as well as some of the best drumming the slower passages on this effort will see. You’ll also happen upon nother beautiful and haunting violin performance. Most of the time is spent playing up the Doom Metal aspect, using some complex riffs that accentuate the deep thuds of the bass kicks perfectly. Even the slower chugging sections carry a notable chill that you can easily feel creeping up on you, especially around four minutes and forty-five seconds in when the song slows for a moment of narration.

The Manuscript seems to be yet another conceptual EP from My Dying Bride, but it’s far from one of the better ones, and quite distant from what the band promised. Many times the music wound up having no accompanying atmosphere, which is vital for the overly simplified performances this release has. The title track starts things off on very shakey ground, and it isn’t really until “A Pale Shroud of Longing” that you feel the emotion the lyrics are trying to convey, but not in a retroactive manner. The audio quality also hindered the impact of the music, carrying that rather empty output that actually caused the guitars to give me a severe headache. But, if you’re a fan of My Dying Bride, there is still enough of an excuse to at least sample The Manuscript and see if it does anything more for you than it did for this review.

01. The Manuscript – 6:24
02. Var Gud Over Er – 8:49
03. A Pale Shroud of Longing – 7:48
04. Only Tears to Replace Her With – 4:20
Initial Pressing Score: 4.5/10

Heart in Hand (band)

Digital review copy of this release provided by Peaceville Records via Fresno Media.